Vladimir Nabokov was born on this day in 1899. Here is a passage from Speak, Memory:
I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness — in a landscape selected at random — is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern -- to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.
In a sense his prose is like a rare butterfly, but with a beauty that is eternal, not ephemeral. When I first read him I do not remember, but the vision of 'Lo' will always remain in my memory.